Local News

Five On Your Side Follows Up On Raleigh Patio Furniture Store

Posted March 4, 2002

— The complaint list keeps growing. More customers of a Raleigh patio furniture business say they did not get what they paid for. Five On Your Side has a follow-up to

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Noel Tucker is one of eight people who complained to Five On Your Side about Fireplace Specialist and Casual Furniture in Raleigh. Tucker was one of 27 people who complained to the Better Business Bureau.

"I feel sorry for anybody else who does business with them," she said.

In February 2001, Tucker paid Detra Commander more than $2,500 upfront to special order a kitchen table set and four barstools. She was supposed to get it in four to eight weeks, but Noel said instead of furniture, she got excuses.

"There's a problem with the manufacturer, couldn't find the paperwork. The delivery trucks were running late. Detra had been sick," Tucker said.

More than three months after Tucker ordered it, furniture was finally delivered, just not the right furniture. The bar stools were too short, and the kitchen table was too tall.

"You could sit at the kitchen table and eat up here or you could sit at the bar. It just didn't work," she said.

Tucker kept records of her repeated attempts to try to straighten it all out with Commander.

"Over 30 times, I either called or went by," she said.

After 10 months, Tucker took back the furniture and demanded a refund. When she did not get one, she called Five On Your Side. Five On Your Side repeatedly tried to talk to Detra and owner Bobby Commander about all the complaints, but got nowhere, so Five On Your Side's Monica Laliberte went to see her in person.

"Bobby's closing the store. Please turn off that camera off or get out. Either turn the camera off or get out," Detra said.

Based on the "going out of business" signs now posted on the doors, it does not look good for customers still battling with Commander. As for Tucker, she has great advice for everyone. She said no matter what we buy or where we buy it from, "Never pay 100 percent for something you're ordering. Always use your credit card, and ask around," she said.

The best reason to use a credit card is because it gives you recourse. Most of the people who got their money back got it after disputing the charges with their credit card companies, though a couple did finally get refunds from Detra.

As for the furniture that Tucker has, she ordered the exact same pieces from a different store for the same price and got it in just four weeks.

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